I read an article saying how bad recruitment consultants are, I have been in recruitment for 15 years and yes there are some bad agencies and bad consultants. However, I have had the pleaseure of working with some of the most hard working and genuine people in the business and I wanted to share this on their and my behalf.
WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE....
..a recruitment consultant. Said nobody. Ever. That's the reality of it. If you took a straw poll, you'd get the usual answers - train driver, fire brigade, pop star, astronaut, nurse, and the most popular and depressing answer currently - famous. (Interesting how the answers vary between the thoroughly speculative and public sector jobs). Popular opinion is that recruitment consultants are a 'necessary evil', a painful process that has to be gone through in order to achieve an end. Hovering somewhere around the likes of estate agents, marginally above the tax man, the recruitment consultant is something of a unfortunate individual, unworthy of our respect, but keep grinning politely whilst we go through with it. Correct?
But...well...is that really fair?
Guess what, no. No it isn't. Of course, just like in any profession you'll get your good and you'll get your...well...not so good. However recruitment isn't, and shouldn't be, when done well a 'necessary evil', but a complimentary and potentially vitally important cog in the wheel in moving from one place to (and here's the key part) the RIGHT next place for you.
The key thing is to sniff out those that are good and those that are just there 'for the buck'. Nobody grew up wanting to be a rec-con, but once in there it can become a very rewarding, interesting and encompassing career. Let's take construction consultancy (my old field) as an example. Could I have told the difference between a QS and a PQS when I first joined? Nope. Could I have told you about the various plusses and minuses of CM and PM approaches? You would have got a blank face. But then everyone has to start somewhere, and by the end of it I'd have placed a reasonable bet that I could explain the intricacies almost as well as those in the job. What a GOOD recruitment professional does well and should have the moment they walk into the job, is an innate ability to build relationships. To bridge gaps. The second quality is a level of intellect and interest in what they do in order to learn. A good recruitment consultant is like a sponge floating in the bath at the start of their career (bear with me on this). Sponge = recruitment consultant, Water = industry knowledge. As time goes by, the sponge soaks up more and more of the water, and as it does so it begins to sink into the water, until such point as it's completely encompassed by that. THEN you have an excellent recruitment consultant, who understands and is interested in their field, plus has spent time building, nurturing and (guess what) enjoying a number of critically important relationships.
So, what's the message to jobhunters? Don't treat recruiters as a necessary evil. Treat them as an ally, because ultimately that's what they are. Spend time talking to those that your gut tells you are good. Find those that know their way around and stick with them - even after you've got your role. A good recruiter will hold on to those relationships, and so should a good jobhunter. You may well be recruiting yourself in the future. Reciprocate. Go back to the person that did such a good job for you in finding the role and get them on board with your recruitment process.
Be good to your recruiter.